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DEAR ABBY: My best friend and I have been friends for 6 1/2 years. I am a single man who has never been married, and my best friend is a married woman with two children. Her husband's job allows him to be home only three nights a week. I even stay at her home about 50 percent of the time. Her husband has no objections to my staying in their home. In fact, we get along very well.

The problem is that everyone thinks it is abnormal for us to "hang out" as much as we do. We do not have sex, and never will; we are not attracted to each other sexually at all. We are just good friends and that's all.

So, what do you think, Abby? Is our relationship normal or not? I hope you will print this so our friends will know that two people of the opposite sex can be good friends -- and that's all. -- BUGGED IN BARSTOW

DEAR BUGGED: It is indeed unusual for a single man and a married woman who are not romantically involved to spend so much time together. It is also out of the ordinary for the woman's husband to be as secure and generous about his wife's close friendship with another man.

And yes, people of the opposite sex can be friends -- and that's all. It is not necessarily "abnormal," but it is unusual.

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